Commitment vs Dedication – How the Difference Can Change Your Life

Have you ever looked back at something that you worked on for a really long time before you finally accomplished it and wondered why it took so long?  Did you find an answer?  I spent 20 years speed skating and missed 3 Olympics before I finally accomplished my goal of winning an Olympic medal and I wondered the very same thing.  People often ask me what the difference was between all the failures and the ultimate success. 

This is what I tell them… 

Right from when I started speed skating at age 11, I was always a very dedicated athlete.  I had to be, as for the first number of years, I trained by myself and didn’t really have a coach.  I was self motivated and

Dedication - No matter how hard you try there will always be a missing piece
Commitment is that missing piece.

dedicated to my goal of competing in the Olympics.  Rarely did I miss a workout.  I ate healthy,  I didn’t drink or party much (even at university) and got ample rest (for the most part).  When I trained, I trained HARD.  I had a very good work ethic.  Believe it or not, I enjoyed the training more than the competition.  For me, good race results were an excuse for more training (weird I know). 

So Why Does it Always Seem to Take Longer?

Why then did it take me until the last year of my career to finally achieve what I set out to do?  Well, there are a number of reasons but I think this is the biggest one…  You see, like I mentioned, I was very dedicated to my sport, my training, my health, etc, but…  for a very long time, I wasn’t COMMITTED to it. 

What’s the Difference Between Dedication & Commitment?

Well, it is a very BIG difference!  The way I look at it, when you are dedicated, you APPEAR to be doing all the right things (just like I did).  Like I said, I did the workouts, took care of myself, didn’t party… I worked hard but… I wasn’t 100% invested… I wasn’t ‘ALL IN’.  It was like I was just going through the motions (how many people do you know that are like that).  What I mean by this is I didn’t have a deadline or an end point for my goal as there was always next season.  It was almost like I was giving myself an excuse for not achieving what I wanted! 

"Dedication is great but it is commitment that leads to achievement." Jason Parker
Commitment is where the rubber meets the road

 

What did I do different in my last season? 

I DECIDED it was my last season… NO MATTER WHAT!  A target and a deadline were set and there were no more tomorrows.  There wasn’t going to be another chance, another season or another Olympics.  

This changed things.  It caused me to make the most of every day and of every workout because it was the last one I was ever going to have on that day.  It gave me daily purpose.  I

"There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in-between." - Pat Riley
“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley

wanted to be able to retire from my sport and look back on my career with no regrets!  And you know what, I did (and ended up with an Olympic medal to boot)! 

You might be wondering why I’m writing this now (and that would be a very good question).  The reason is I have found myself back in that same place, being dedicated to something, but not fully committed to it and I decided it’s time to get committed.

What does this mean for you?

How can you take advantage of this difference?  Take out a piece of paper, write down these questions, take some time to connect with them and write out your answers.  I’m going to do the same thing… 

  1. What areas of my life have I been ‘going through the motions”? 
  2. Have I been dedicated to something for a long time but haven’t gotten the results that I want?  (If I haven’t been dedicated to anything, why haven’t I?)
  3. What is it that I really want (that it is time to commit to)? 

 Let me know what you come up with in the comments below or on Facebook.  Let’s hear what you’re committed dedication is to… and I might share mine as well 😉

Decide it, Believe it, Become it and Achieve your “Olympian Life”, today!

Jason

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